« ElőzőTovább »
chiefly beneficial as affecting the connexion with the stomach, and that for any other reason it would be nearly useless ;-in short, it appears to me, that in the stomach is the spring, upon which entirely depends every other function, and every other affection of the frame.
With respect to corns, I have been treated with great ridicule for asserting that they are dependent upon the digestion ; but I have observed these things, and the ridiculers have not. With me, when I am in the best health, they disappear, and only come, or inconvenience me, in proportion as I am careless. This I have ascertained over and over again. Of course they are made better or worse by different kinds of boots or shoes; but no kind of boot or shoe will bring them, unless there is a tendency from improper living. Pressure would only affect as long as it lasted, but would cause no formation, without some superfluity to work upon. The reason why corns shoot on the approach of rain is, that the change in the atmosphere more or less deranges the digestion, which causes a throbbing sensation. I have made these remarks because the state of the feet is of so much importance to our comfort and activity, and because I think they are applicable to the general management of ourselves, and may be useful to those who are subject to gout, rheumatism, cramp, and other diseases of the limbs. My principal aim is to furnish my readers, from my own observation and experience, with sufficient hints to induce them to think, and to notice what happens to themselves. If I am not always perfectly right in what I lay down, I do not much mind that, provided I enable others to get right in detecting my errors. I am sure I am not very far from the truth in my principal positions.
I believe that species of health is the best, and certainly the most prized, which is the result of study and observation, and which is preserved by constant watchfulness and resolution. Anxiety and quackery are destructive of health, but a reasonable attention is absolutely necessary. Those who constitutionally enjoy robust health, seldom know how sufficiently to value it; besides which, for want of discipline, they are not often so well as they think themselves. They frequently mistake strength for bealth, though they are very different things—as different as St. Paul's clock from a chronometer. The weaker mechanism often goes the best. I think that those who are so constituted as to be well with care, have on the whole the most reason to be thankful, as being most likely to enjoy permanent well-being of body and mind; there is often a recklessness about constitutional health which is dangerous to both.
REGULATION OF CHARITY. There is nothing more destructive to the interests of mankind than the principle of providing for those whom Providence intended to provide for themselves, whether the principle is put in practice by government or by individuals, whether by poorlaws or by private bounty. By destroying moral energy it destroys the soul, and under the mask of kindness is the height of cruelty. Every one who idly gives, or to gratify his own feelings, or to avoid importunity, so far from well deserving, is answerable for the consequences arising from debasement. Casual charity is much to be deprecated : for the objects of it are ever undeserving, and it serves only to create, or perpetuate, a lost race.
The rule is, that human beings are born into the world with a capability of self-dependence, if they please to avail themselves of it, and the exceptions are so few, as not to be worth providing for beforehand. To help those who are helping themselves, or who only want a fair start, is most praiseworthy and beneficial. To relieve the few, whom unavoidable calamity has utterly overwhelmed, or overtaken too late in life to have a chance of retrieving themselves, is a gratifying duty; but to lay down any general rule that the old are to be maintained, the fatherless to be provided for, the sick to be taken care of, is to render null God's ordinances in favour of prudence and foresight in the shape of the ordinary changes and vicissitudes of life. There is no excuse for poverty so weak as that of old age; it is the very reason why a man should have made provision for himself. Though it is commonly assumed to be a sufficient plea for help, the truth has only to be stated to be past dispute. If the fatherless are held to be legally entitled to relief, the parental feeling of obligation to provide for children will be weakened or destroyed. If the sick are to be taken care of by law, one of the chief uses of health will be perverted or neglected. Particular cases of old age, protracted beyond the usual period, children left destitute by extraordinary contingencies, or sickness of uncommon violence or duration, furnish legitimate objects for the voluntary care of relatives, friends, and neighbours, and that resource, if left to free operation, would always be found at least amply sufficient. Legal provision either makes the mass of misery it can but inadequately relieve, or is a wretched expedient for remedying the demoralization and debasement of defective government. Give men fair play, with the full consequences of their own actions, and they will exhibit human nature according to a much higher standard than that of any system of poor-laws. I will conclude this article with two strong illustrations-one a
public, the other an individual case, in which relief was more than commensurate to an extraordinary emergency.
In July, 1794, a fire broke out in the hamlet of Ratcliff, in the parish of Stepney, which consumed more houses than any conflagration since the fire of London: above six hundred were burnt. An account was transmitted to government, and arrived during the sitting of a cabinet council. In consequence, one hundred and fifty tents were ordered to be pitched for the reception of the distressed sufferers, and food was distributed for their relief; besides which, covered waggons were sent from the Tower to accommodate those for whom the tents were not sufficient. Amongst other subscriptions in aid of the sufferers, 7,0001. was collected at Lloyd's in one day, and on one Sunday alone the sum of 8001. was received from visitants to the camp and ruins, of which 426l. was in copper, and 381. 14s. in farthings—showing indisputably the universal sympathy of rich and poor on this call on their charity, and notice was soon given that there was no need of further aid.
The second case is the following. About eighteen years since, the rector of the parish of Whitechapel was called in the middle of the night to baptize four male infants, just born of one mother. The father, a journeyman shoemaker, was at a loss for names, and was overwhelmed at his prospect of what he thought certain ruin. At the suggestion of the rector, the children were named, according to the order of their birth, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,
and he caused the facts to be inserted in the newspapers. The consequence was, a vast number of personal inquiries by different classes, large presents of baby-linen and other things, and unsolicited contributions to the amount of nine hundred pounds. The children all died before the expiration of fourteen months, and the greater part of the money was soon after wasted in mismanagement and extravagance.
I will add, that well-reputed widows, with large families and slender means, are often even benefited, pecuniarily and as to the advancement of their children, by the loss of their husbands, on account of the many friends they meet with. Indeed I do not think there is a man or woman in this country who deserves support, that does not find it; but of this I am quite sure, that the contrary is much too often the case.
LETTERS FROM THE CONTINENT. A short series of familiar letters, 'written by me in 1822, during a journey on the Continent, lately came into my
hands; and by way of variety, I propose giving, through a few numbers,
such extracts as I think may afford any amusement to my readers.
Genoa, January 12, 1822. “ I was rather disappointed with Nice, though some of the environs are pretty, and the gulf of Villa Franca as lovely as anything I ever saw. It was so cold in the early part of the mornings, that I was obliged to protect my hands in my walks by keeping them in my pockets, and nearly the same at nightwhereas in the middle of the day I bathed in the sea, I may almost say, to cool myself. This vicissitude must render it necessary for invalids to be very careful. The air is so dry, that notwithstanding the sharp frosts, we had young peas every day for dinner, and I observed the plants in flower and pod, as if it had been summer. In the inn-garden were orange trees loaded with ripe fruit. The olive groves about Nice are particularly fine, and the shade in hot weather must be delightful
. I remarked many trees five feet in diameter, and bearing the marks of extreme old age. The north coast of the Mediterranean seems to be particularly favourable to the olive, and it visibly degenerates, in whichever direction it recedes. On New Year's Day all the inhabitants of any consideration were out in the street in full court dresses, calling upon one another, and when they met, kissing in the streets-very wretches most of them priests hugging officers, and officers hugging priests. I hugged myself that I knew none of them, to have such a liberty taken with me by such rapscallions. The oranges in this country are not near so good as we get in England, but I like them for their freshness; and for the same reason I think the lemons delicious. After all, the trees, as they are pruned for bearing, are too formal to be beautiful: they look like trees in a pantomime, but they certainly give the environs of Nice a very rich appear
“We embarked on board a felucca on the 4th, but landed at Menaco on account of contrary winds. There we took mules to this place, the road being rendered impracticable for carriages by the greatest storm there has been for forty years. We had a very pleasant, healthy, and interesting journey of four days, with three mules and two muleteers on foot, who kept pace with us, sometimes at the rate of seven miles an hour. The road is most interesting from the beautiful situations of the towns and villages, the almost constant view of the sea, the numerous and extensive olive, and orange, and lemon groves, and the various evergreens and herbs with which the rocks and mountains are covered. I recognised many plants which we grow in greenhouses. We entered Genoa at full trot, Chapuis, our courier,
in grand costume, galloping before us, cracking his whip in the true French style, cutting right and left at everybody that came in his way, swearing and calling out in the most imperious manner, and our two muleteers running along in the greatest glee. At first I was quite ashamed of the display, but everybody seemed to take it in good part, and rather to like what in England would have caused Chapuis to have been knocked off his mule at least twenty times. He had been courier to Bonaparte, and he seemed to forget for the moment that he was not in the imperial service.
“I must not omit to mention the excellence of my mule, which I rode down the steepest and most slippery places in perfect safety. She only committed one fault, and that was in stopping at an inn, when the muleteers were in advance. Two men whipping behind, two pulling before, and myself kicking in the middle, could not induce her to move, except kicking most violently both behind and before, till at last one of the muleteers returned and set me forward.
“What a splendid place Genoa is! The palaces I think much superior in magnificence to those at Venice, and I have never seen anything comparable to the line of the three principal streets. The environs too are quite delightful on all sides, and I never saw such a number of magnificent residences. The room in which I am writing is splendidly ornamented with gilding and fresco painting. I do not think I ever saw in London so superb an apartment; but in cold weather, as this is, it is impossible to keep oneself warm. The floors are all tiled. It seems the fashion to live high up. Our rooms, which are in the principal suite of a former palace, are nearly at the top of a lofty building; We have eighty-six marble steps to ascend to get to them, and it is something the same in most of the palaces I have seen. I believe the family in general only occupy the principal floor, and sometimes content themselves with less; and, indeed, it is impossible for an individual to want the whole of some of these immense piles. In one palace I counted twenty-five windows in front on one floor. In many, carriages drive into the vestibule ; and the staircases, landing-places, and halls are in proportion. To-day all the world was out. The men wrap themselves up in large cloaks, but the women are lightly clad, and wear only a thin piece of muslin thrown over their heads, but not covering the face, with dark curls on each side the forehead. The lower orders use printed calico. The muslin gives an elegant and delicate appearance, and in general the complexions are good, and the manner and air prepossessing. The men, too, are rather The more I see of the place, the more I admire it.
a fine race.